San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and 2 councilmen are facing several challengers. Here’s why.

People wait to vote Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022 at the Brook Hollow Branch Library during the midterm elections.

People wait to vote Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022 at the Brook Hollow Branch Library during the midterm elections.

William Luther, Staff / Staff

Mayor Ron Nirenberg and City Council members Mario Bravo and Jalen McKee-Rodriguez appear to have ruffled the most feathers — if you’re judging by the number of challengers wanting to unseat them in the May 6 election.

Those three drew more opponents than any other council incumbent seeking re-election this spring.

The field for the upcoming city election is set. The deadline for candidates to file for places on the ballot passed at 5 p.m. Friday.

Overall, 58 people are running in the May election — nine incumbents and 50 challengers.

The mayoral race is the only citywide contest and tends to draw a crowd of candidates, including a few perennial office-seekers. Eight people signed up to take on Nirenberg, but none appear to have the campaign funding or name recognition among voters to pose a serious threat to the three-term mayor.

Indeed, barring any big surprises in the race, this could prove to be Nirenberg’s easiest mayoral contest to date. He first won the office by defeating then-Mayor Ivy Taylor in a runoff in 2017, and he was re-elected in a hard-fought runoff against former Councilman Greg Brockhouse two years later. Nirenberg again defeated Brockhouse in 2021.

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Bravo and McKee-Rodriguez, both wrapping up their first two-year terms, are facing eight and nine challengers, respectively.

Some of Bravo’s opponents could have jumped in because of a controversy involving then-District 7 Councilwoman Ana Sandoval, friction over fallout from major street projects in the district or both.

At a Sept. 15 council meeting, Bravo berated Sandoval in extremely personal terms — they were former romantic partners — over her decision not to support him in a CPS Energy-related vote. The council censured Bravo in November.

Two challengers emerged in District 1, which includes the central city and parts of the North Side, soon after news of Bravo’s actions broke.

Sukh Kaur, a former middle school teacher who is now an education consultant, was the first to announce her bid for the District 1 seat, followed by Jeremy Roberts, former chairman of the city’s small business advisory commission and member of the airport advisory commission.

In District 2 on the East Side, competition for office is frequently intense — whether the seat is open (when there’s no incumbent seeking re-election) or a council representative is fighting for another term. Five council members have represented the district since 2013.

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Districts 7 and 10, unsurprisingly, will have crowded races. They are open seats, which usually draw a slew of contenders.

Five people applied to run in District 7, while seven filed for the District 10 race.

In District 7, on the West Side, Sandoval resigned last month after 5½ years of service. She left for a new, higher-paying job at University Health. Sandoval’s decision came after the November 2021 death of her father and the birth of her first daughter, who is now 8 months old. With her father’s death, Sandoval said, she is playing a bigger role in her mother’s life.

Applications to fill the temporary vacancy are open through noon Friday.. On March 1, the council will select a short list of applicants, then interview the candidates and choose an interim appointee the next day.

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On Thursday, District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry, who is facing drunken driving and hit-and-run charges, said he will not seek re-election.

Business attorney Marc Whyte, one of seven candidates looking to replace Perry, has the support of most, if not all, former District 10 representatives, including Mike Gallagher, Carlton Soules and John Clamp.

Early voting for the May 6 election runs from April 24 through May 2.

Editor’s note: The overall number of candidates has been updated in this story. On Monday afternoon, one of the candidates who filed to run in the May 6 city election withdrew from the race, bringing to the total to 58.